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angsuman 12th March 2008 11:29 PM

S3E Vacuum Tube
Hello everyone, a friend of mine recently gave me an S3E vacuum tube, it is made by RCA and uses an octal socket with all 8 connections being made. It has heaters and that's about all I can gather from it. I'll post a picture of it soon. I can't find any data anywhere on the internet on this S3E tube which surprises me. Can anyone enlighten me on what the function of this S3E tube is?

kstagger 13th March 2008 12:13 PM

post a pic - I've never heard of a S3E tube, perhaps that is a factory marking or ?

316a 13th March 2008 12:44 PM


Originally posted by kstagger
post a pic - I've never heard of a S3E tube, perhaps that is a factory marking or ?
Sounds like an RCA datecode !


angsuman 13th March 2008 10:48 PM

Hmm here are two pictures I took. "S3E Made in USA" and RCA are the only markings on this tube. This tube looks different from many other tubes I've seen before. You can't see any of the internal structures like grid wires or a anything just the shiny plate and the heaters coming up at one side.

smoking-amp 14th March 2008 12:12 AM

I don't know what the S3E is about, but from the 1st picture it is obvious that it is a gas filled thyratron. Notice the small glass tube with an electrode inside entering the plate assembly from the bottom. This is the trigger electrode. Dead give away. Probably is argon filled, glows purple when fired. Not directly useful for audio, but likely could be used for a delayed HV B+ turn on relay. It's a HV switch or SCR like device. Try tracing the pinout if possible, then can look it up in the RCA tube base section.


Tubelab_com 14th March 2008 12:32 AM

I have some tubes that look exactly like these. They are 2050 Thyratrons. They were used in jukeboxes to control the machanism. The S3E is probably the date code. The actual number was on the glass and probably wore off. As stated they are useless for audio.

astouffer 14th March 2008 12:45 AM


As stated they are useless for audio.
Not quite. They make great oscillators for synth work :D

nhuwar 14th March 2008 12:59 AM

Make your self a wretch Machine, Well a wana be one :D :D


Tubelab_com 14th March 2008 01:14 AM


Not quite. They make great oscillators for synth work
Use the 2D21 instead. They are common, the 2050 is collected for old jukeboxes, and not that common.

angsuman 14th March 2008 02:01 AM

hmm, thank you for your replies. Yes I think it's definitely a 2050 because I can see "20" on the bulb in the most faded slightly brown lettering possible, when I put it up to the light in the right way. I think it could be a 2051 as well.

I found a rather interesting article about this tube which discusses it's use in sampling but for encrypted telephony.

If it glows purple then maybe I could incorporate it into the 807 amplifier I'm building maybe as a voltage regulator or something.
perhaps to regulate the voltage for the 6AU6 driver stages in my amp.

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